There are few that don't enjoy stately, well-placed trees. They provide shade and screening; frame course features; provide scale, balance, and depth perception; provide interesting textures, shapes, and colors; provide wildlife habitat; absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen; reduce dust and particulate matter; stabilize soil; prevent erosion; and the list of positive attributes goes on. In comparison however, they limit play options; the shade they cast dramatically impacts turf growth and quality; root systems plug tile lines and damage hard surface paths; they block interesting views and vistas; can be easily damaged in storms creating additional damage to turf and structures; require regular costly pruning, disease, and insect control tasks; create weed problems when they seed; create expensive ongoing debris clean-up tasks; (seeds in spring, branches during summer, leaves in fall) and this list of negative attributes goes on.
So how do we decide if a tree should be removed at all? And, if so, how do we decide what trees should be removed? Some become obvious when destroyed by storms, but in other cases it’s not so clear. As we’ve mentioned in the past and recently in the Year in Review, we use the 5-D System.
The 5-D’s that guide our tree removal actions:
• Diseased - significant infection that is untreatable or too costly to treat.
• Decayed/Dead - significant decay, or complete death, resulting in structural weakening and hazardous conditions.
• Damaged - significant structural damage from high winds and/or lightning.
• Disfigured - Unattractive shape from over crowding of adjacent trees or from damage.
• Disruptive – Affecting playability. Causing traffic concentration, excess turf loss from shade, root system impacts to turf and drainage tile systems.
This past winter we did have a few trees that fell within these guidelines. The following list shows the locations and conditions that warranted removal:
This American Elm on the left side of #13 fairway unfortunately became infected with Dutch Elm Disease despite our treatment efforts and had to be removed. The decline is evident on the bark shown in the picture and even more in the canopy (not pictured).